©2019 THE SMILE PROJECT

Hospitality of Strangers

August 8, 2018

In Rapid City, South Dakota, we worked with Dress for Success and a group called EMERGE that hosts discussions about social change and community service while incorporating service projects every month. They were a joy to meet, work with, and share the story of the smile.

 

We had camped in the Badlands the night of August 4th going into August 5th and for the first time all trip, I was worried about our decades old tent. The wind was louder than I’d ever heard in a tent and I could almost imagine the fabric being torn to shreds. I love camping and would repeatedly say that I felt I slept best any night of the trip we camped, but I was a little concerned.

 

Later that day on August 5th we were sitting with the EMERGE group and someone asked where we went next. I told them we would be headed back to the Badlands tonight to camp before moving onto Omaha the next morning. She had her phone to her ear already when she said, “no” and left the room.

 

Storms were imminent, and she was not about to send us back to the park. Within minutes she was back and telling us we were all set to go to the lodge.

 

The lodge was part of a Methodist Church camp facility with cabins to host summer camps and a recreation room to play board games and a giant kitchen to serve everyone. Our new friend had worked as a cook for years and in a matter of minutes had arranged that we stay in one of the lodges instead of outside under concerning skies.

 

I could feel myself tearing up. The action was so beyond anything we could have ever asked or imagined. Out of her own kindness, she had found us somewhere safe, dry, and comfortable to stay, and in her words, “everything is already taken care of.”

 

Not only did we have accommodations, the current lodge staffing invited us to join them at a hot breakfast. The next morning, we chatted with a current cook who packed us lunches for the road – a blessing on a long travel day.

 

By no means was any of this necessary or expected. It was simply people doing what they can to help other people with the resources and connections they have. Basic human kindness.

 

Love always,

Liz

 

 

 

 

 

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